Anal sex or anal intercourse is generally the insertion and thrusting of the erect penis into a person’s anus, or anus and rectum, for sexual pleasure.Other forms of anal sex include fingering, the use of sex toys for anal penetration, oral sex performed on the anus (anilingus), and pegging.Although anal sex most commonly means penile–anal penetration,sources sometimes use anal intercourse to exclusively denote penile–anal penetration, and anal sex to denote any form of anal sexual activity, especially between pairings as opposed to anal masturbation.
While anal sex is commonly associated with male homosexuality, research shows that not all gay males engage in anal sex and that it is not uncommon in heterosexual relationships.Types of anal sex can also be a part of lesbian sexual practices. People may experience pleasure from anal sex by stimulation of the anal nerve endings, and orgasm may be achieved through anal penetration – by indirect stimulation of the prostate in men, indirect stimulation of the clitoris or an area of the vagina (sometimes called the G-spot) in women, and other sensory nerves (especially the pudendal nerve).However, people may also find anal sex painful, sometimes extremely so,which may be due to psychological factors in some cases.
As with most forms of sexual activity, anal sex participants risk contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Anal sex is considered a high-risk sexual practice because of the vulnerability of the anus and rectum. The anal and rectal tissues are delicate and do not provide lubrication like the vagina does, so they can easily tear and permit disease transmission, especially if a personal lubricant is not used.Anal sex without protection of a condom is considered the riskiest form of sexual activity,and therefore health authorities such as the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend safe sex practices for anal sex.
Strong views are often expressed about anal sex. It is controversial in various cultures, especially with regard to religious prohibitions. This is commonly due to prohibitions against anal sex among males or teachings about the procreative purpose of sexual activity.It may be considered taboo or unnatural, and is a criminal offense in some countries, punishable by corporal or capital punishment. By contrast, anal sex may also be considered a natural and valid form of sexual activity as fulfilling as other desired sexual expressions, and can be an enhancing or primary element of a person’s sex life.
The abundance of nerve endings in the anal region and rectum can make anal sex pleasurable for men or women.The internal and external sphincter muscles control the opening and closing of the anus; these muscles, which are sensitive membranes made up of many nerve endings, facilitate pleasure or pain during anal sex. Human Sexuality: An Encyclopedia states that “the inner third of the anal canal is less sensitive to touch than the outer two-thirds, but is more sensitive to pressure” and that “the rectum is a curved tube about eight or nine inches long and has the capacity, like the anus, to expand”.
Research indicates that anal sex occurs significantly less frequently than other sexual behaviors,but its association with dominance and submission, as well as taboo, makes it an appealing stimulus to people of all sexual orientations In addition to sexual penetration by the penis, people may use sex toys such as a dildo, a butt plug or anal beads, engage in fingering, anilingus, pegging, anal masturbation or fisting for anal sexual activity, and different sex positions may also be included.Fisting is the least practiced of the activities,partly because it is uncommon that people can relax enough to accommodate an object as big as a fist being inserted into the anus.
In a male receptive partner, being anally penetrated can produce a pleasurable sensation due to the inserted penis rubbing or brushing against the prostate hrough the anal wall.This can result in pleasurable sensations and can lead to an orgasm in some cases. Prostate stimulation can produce a deeper orgasm, sometimes described by men as more widespread and intense, longer-lasting, and allowing for greater feelings of ecstasy than orgasm elicited by penile stimulation only.The prostate is located next to the rectum and is the larger, more developed male homologue (variation) to the female Skene’s glands. It is also typical for a man to not reach orgasm as a receptive partner solely from anal sex.
General statistics indicate that 70–80% of women require direct clitoral stimulation to achieve orgasm.The vaginal walls contain significantly fewer nerve endings than the clitoris (which has many nerve endings specifically intended for orgasm), and therefore intense sexual pleasure, including orgasm, from vaginal sexual stimulation is less likely to occur than from direct clitoral stimulation in the majority of women.The clitoris is composed of more than the externally visible glans (head).The vagina, for example, is flanked on each side by the clitoral crura, the internal legs of the clitoris, which are highly sensitive and become engorged with blood when sexually aroused.Indirect stimulation of the clitoris through anal penetration may be caused by the shared sensory nerves, especially the pudendal nerve, which gives off the inferior anal nerves and divides into the perineal nerve and the dorsal nerve of the clitoris.
Although the anus has many nerve endings, their purpose is not specifically for inducing orgasm, and so a woman achieving orgasm solely by anal stimulation is rare.The Gräfenberg spot, or G-spot, is a debated area of female anatomy, particularly among doctors and researchers, but it is typically described as being located behind the female pubic bone surrounding the urethra and accessible through the anterior wall of the vagina; it and other areas of the vagina are considered to have tissue and nerves that are related to the clitoris.Direct stimulation of the clitoris, a G-spot area, or both, while engaging in anal sex can help some women enjoy the activity and reach orgasm during it.
Stimulation from anal sex can additionally be affected by popular perception or portrayals of the activity, such as erotica or pornography. In pornography, anal sex is commonly portrayed as a desirable, painless routine that does not require personal lubricant; this can result in couples performing anal sex without care, and men and women believing that it is unusual for women, as receptive partners, to find discomfort or pain instead of pleasure from the activity.By contrast, each person’s sphincter muscles react to penetration differently, the anal sphincters have tissues that are more prone to tearing, and the anus and rectum do not provide lubrication for sexual penetration like the vagina does. Researchers say adequate application of a personal lubricant, relaxation, and communication between sexual partners are crucial to avoid pain or damage to the anus or rectum.Additionally, ensuring that the anal area is clean and the bowel is empty, for both aesthetics and practicality, may be desired by participants.
The anal sphincters are usually tighter than the pelvic muscles of the vagina, which can enhance the sexual pleasure for the inserting male during male-to-female anal intercourse because of the pressure applied to the penis. Men may also enjoy the penetrative role during anal sex because of its association with dominance, because it is made more alluring by a female partner or society in general insisting that it is forbidden, or because it presents an additional option for penetration.
While some women find being a receptive partner during anal intercourse painful or uncomfortable, or only engage in the act to please a male sexual partner, other women find the activity pleasurable or prefer it to vaginal intercourse.
In a 2010 clinical review article of heterosexual anal sex, anal intercourse is used to specifically denote penile-anal penetration, and anal sex is used to denote any form of anal sexual activity. The review suggests that anal sex is exotic among the sexual practices of some heterosexuals and that “for a certain number of heterosexuals, anal intercourse is pleasurable, exciting, and perhaps considered more intimate than vaginal sex”.
Anal intercourse is sometimes used as a substitute for vaginal intercourse during menstruation.The likelihood of pregnancy occurring during anal sex is greatly reduced, as anal sex alone cannot lead to pregnancy unless sperm is somehow transported to the vaginal opening. Because of this, some couples practice anal intercourse as a form of contraception, often in the absence of a condom.
Male-to-female anal sex is commonly viewed as a way of preserving female virginity because it is non-procreative and does not tear the hymen; a person, especially a teenage girl or woman, who engages in anal sex or other sexual activity with no history of having engaged in vaginal intercourse is often regarded among heterosexuals and researchers as not having yet experienced virginity loss. This is sometimes called technical virginity. Heterosexuals may view anal sex as “fooling around” or as foreplay; scholar Laura M. Carpenter stated that this view “dates to the late 1600s, with explicit ‘rules’ appearing around the turn of the twentieth century, as in marriage manuals defining petting as ‘literally every caress known to married couples but does not include complete sexual intercourse.'”
Because most research on anal intercourse addresses men who have sex with men, little data exists on the prevalence of anal intercourse among heterosexual couples. In Kimberly R. McBride’s 2010 clinical review on heterosexual anal intercourse and other forms of anal sexual activity, it is suggested that changing norms may affect the frequency of heterosexual anal sex. McBride and her colleagues investigated the prevalence of non-intercourse anal sex behaviors among a sample of men (n=1,299) and women (n=1,919) compared to anal intercourse experience and found that 51% of men and 43% of women had participated in at least one act of oral–anal sex, manual–anal sex, or anal sex toy use. The report states the majority of men (n=631) and women (n=856) who reported heterosexual anal intercourse in the past 12 months were in exclusive, monogamous relationships: 69% and 73%, respectively.The review added that because “relatively little attention [is] given to anal intercourse and other anal sexual behaviors between heterosexual partners”, this means that it is “quite rare” to have research “that specifically differentiates the anus as a sexual organ or addresses anal sexual function or dysfunction as legitimate topics. As a result, we do not know the extent to which anal intercourse differs qualitatively from coitus.”
According to a 2010 study from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB) that was authored by Debby Herbenick et al., although anal intercourse is reported by fewer women than other partnered sex behaviors, partnered women in the age groups between 18–49 are significantly more likely to report having anal sex in the past 90 days. Women engaged in anal intercourse less commonly than men. Vaginal intercourse was practiced more than insertive anal intercourse among men, but 13% to 15% of men aged 25 to 49 practiced insertive anal intercourse.
With regard to adolescents, limited data also exists. This may be because of the taboo nature of anal sex and that teenagers and caregivers subsequently avoid talking to one another about the topic. It is also common for subject review panels and schools to avoid the subject. A 2000 study found that 22.9% of college students who self-identified as non-virgins had anal sex. They used condoms during anal sex 20.9% of the time as compared with 42.9% of the time with vaginal intercourse.
Anal sex being more common among heterosexuals today than it was previously has been linked to the increase in consumption of anal pornography among men, especially among those who view it on a regular basis.Seidman et al. argued that “cheap, accessible and, especially, interactive media have enabled many more people to produce as well as consume pornography”, and that this modern way of producing pornography, in addition to the buttocks and anus having become more eroticized, has led to a significant interest in or obsession with anal sex among men.
Female to female
With regard to lesbian sexual practices, anal sex includes fingering, use of a dildo or other sex toys, or anilingus.
There is less research on anal sexual activity among women who have sex with women compared to couples of other sexual orientations. In 1987, a non-scientific study (Munson) was conducted of more than 100 members of a lesbian social organization in Colorado. When asked what techniques they used in their last ten sexual encounters, lesbians in their 30s were twice as likely as other age groups to engage in anal stimulation (with a finger or dildo). A 2014 study of partnered lesbian women in Canada and the U.S. found that 7% engaged in anal stimulation or penetration at least once a week; about 10% did so monthly and 70% did not at all.Anilingus is also less often practiced among female same-sex couples.